The Heart of Bhagavata is an English translation of Bhagavatasaroddhare of Visnutirtha/ Jayatirtha, popularly known as 'Adavi Acharya.' He lived between 1 756 -18 06. He was born at Siddapura near Savanur in Haveri District. He took Samnyasa from Sri Satyavaratirtha. He was a contemporary of Satyadhiratirtha also. He is reported to have entered into Brindavana at Madanur six miles from Koppala. He spent nearly twelve years in Munavalli of Savadatti Taluk of Belgaum district. A tree is planted in a place where he gave discourses on Nyayasudha. He had eight prominent disciples whose desedents still continue.
Bhagavatasaroddbara is a compilation of 365 verses selected from Bhagavata. These are arranged under thirty topics systematically.
Very appealing verses of these topics are selected from Bhagavata and included under these topics.
This work contains the essentials of the message of Bhagavata. Sri Susarla Srinivasa Rao, has translated in English these verses with very useful notes under the title, 'The Heart of Bhagavata.' It is useful to comprehend the message of Bhagavata for those who do not know Sanskrit but are interested in knowing the essential teachings of Bhagavata.
In view of this the Dvaita Vedanta Foundation is publishing the second edition of this work.
If the three most popular Hindu Religious works, the Ramayana is a Kavya i.e., a poem composed by the sage Valrniki: the Mahabharata is the work of Sri Vedavyasa one of the direct Avataras (incarnations) of Visnu and, to the ordinary reader, this seems to be mainly an exposition of the duties of man in relation to this world. Therefore, it is specifically stated that Sri Vedavyasa produced the Bhagavata to teach man clearly his duties of God. Thus the special importance, on the spiritual side, of the Bhagavata arises from its distinct and pronounced feature of inculcating the spirit of pure devotion to the One Almighty God.
It contains twelve sections made up of 344 chapters with about 18,000 granthas in all (32 syllables make a grantha) To instill and develop Bhakti or reverential devotion to Visnu is its main purpose. Gnana or spiritual knowledge is the first part of bhakti, for, the more we know of God's greatness, the more intense grows our devotion to Him. Again vairagya or renunciation is a main and necessary condition for the steady growth of devotion : for, the father our affections are removed from worldly matters, the nearer we approach Him. This bhakti is both sadhya (the end) and sadhana (the means). It is sadhya, because the final beatitude is the enjoyment of eternal happiness in the form of contemplation of His lotus feet under His control and in His presence. It is sadhana, because it is the only certain and safe path leading to liberation from mundane bondage (samsara to realisation of self and to final beatitude.) This sadhana or means consists in the performance of Bhagavata dharmas or duties of a devotee to God.
The first thought that naturally occurs to a person who begins to contemplate (inquire) about the world in the midst of which he lives and breathes, is that it must have an original cause and to him who perceives the orderliness, the beauty and the grandeur of the universe, the next thought is that the original cause must be All-powerful to create, protect and destroy it, All-intelligent to guide it, All-knowing to bestow knowledge on others, All-independent to perform His self assigned work without another's assistance, All- kind to free its beings from bondage, All-pure, Supreme and All-bliss to confer bliss on others. This original cause is the Bhagavan (God) of the Bhagavata Purana and these attributes are' the subject-matter of the first verse (No.147 in this book). From this recognition of the existence of one Supreme Intelligent Blissful Lord, Paramatman, it follows that there are lesser beings dependent on Him, the Jivatmans, (the intelligent beings of limited nature), as well as Jagat (the material world); and we readily see from our experience in daily' life that some of the individual souls are in bondage. The second verse (No.50 in this book) in the Bhagavata proceeds to define the scope of this work i.e. (to define) and to lay down in detail the duties which the dependent jivas owe to the Lord. The sincere practice of these religious duties or Bhagavata Dharmas, develops Bhakti (reverential devotion) to God and leads Jiva to a cognition of his own Svarupa (self) and of the particular form of the All-pervading God that is present in the Jiva eye to eye, ear to ear, hand to hand and so on. This form of God is called the Bimba, the original or principal and the Jivas are Pratibimbas (images or reflections). The original (Blmba) is eternal, the images (Pratibtmbas) are also eternal, as the Upadhi, i.e., the mirror or the ground on which the Birnba is reflected to produce the Pratibimba, is the Swarupa, the self or the very essence of the individual soul, which is also eternal. Meditation on this Bimba is the topmost (last) step in the course of the performance of religious duties and it is really the regular practice of Atmasamarpana or self-surrender, i.e., the realisation that all things we call our own including our body and soul, all actions, and all things fit for our enjoyment, really belong to God and not to ourselves: and the effacement of the Ahamkara ("1-ness" or egoism) and Mamakara ("Mine-ness"). This duty is easy to define; but it may take several years or perhaps several lives to rise up to the stage at which it can be successfully practised. The Bhagavata therefore prescribes the performance of 29 other duties to the Jiva that has not risen to that stage. These duties are enumerated, defined and explained in the 12th chapter of the 7th section (Skandha) and in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of the 11th section of Bhagavata. They are given in the notes under verse No.2 3 8 in this book.
The special features of Bhagavata Dharma or religious and spiritual duty of man to God may be noted as follows. Firstly it is prescribed by God
T. Brahma the four-faced learned from Narayana (the original form of Visnu) the Bhagavatam in four verses. Sages propagated its tenets in the world as the means for good souls of attaining final beatitude.
T. Before creation and after dissolution I alone exist independently; everything else, the subtle or the gross, though existing, is not independent. During the period of preservation after creation, I, thou and the worlds perceptibly exist; but all other things are all dependent on Me. ( 1 ) Whatever things are seen to exist from the Vedas and other sources of knowledge to be of no purpose to Me the Lord, or as not causing resistance to Me, such things, viz., the Jivas (individual souls) Prakrti (matted Karma (action) and Kala (time) should be known as My maya i.e., things that wholly depend on My will and grace. The former (Jivas) is Abhasa (reflection or image) and the latter (Prakrti) is Tamas (dead matted. (2) Just as the great elements pervade and surpass (are over and above) the great and small things created out of them, so I am the Lord in all created things and outside them. (3) By the seeker after the true nature of the Lord, this much is to be enquired into and comprehended viz., that I am the one thing present in all places and at all times whether they are occupied by other things or not.
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